Democratic political leaders should build their party organizations into "strong, active, and cohesive units," Carmine DeSapio, head of Tammany Hall, stated last night before the Law School Forum.
Speaking on "Policies of the Democratic Party," the New York City politician said the party's strength rests on rank-and-file members in the nation's 125,000 election districts. Their views, he continued, "ultimately determine policy at the county, state, and national level."
In discussing 1960 Republican Presidential prospects, DeSapio declared that "a dangerous cynicism" would be introduced into politics if Governor Rockefeller's disavowal of his candidacy were not accepted at face value. Thus Vice-President Nixon will go to the convention as a "pre-chosen candidate," DeSapio claimed.
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. '38, professor of History and the second speaker at the Forum, characterized the Republican Party as "afraid of new ideas" and in favor of a "do-nothing policy."
The Democratic Party, Schlesinger continued, is "concerned with forward motion in our national life." Democrats, however, must be aware of "bad bosses" and "party hacks" who alienate a party's intelligent members by "causing its intellectual death."
Replying to a question from the audience about recent charges of "bossism" levelled against him by the "liberal" faction of New York Democratic leaders, DeSapio said "I do not want to engage in semantic pyrotechnics." The party is in a state of "healthy agitation," he pointed out, adding "we can never get everyone to agree."